Wigan and Leigh Archives Online

1855-1856, Henry Woods, Mayor of Wigan


Mayor of Wigan 1855

b 11TH December 1822

Parents; William and Elizabeth Woods (nee Marsden)

M Hannah Hindley 1854 (died 1857)

Children: William (1855) second child was a daughter who died in 1859

M Henrietta Emma Gilbert 1864

Children: Catherine (1866), Henrietta (1868)

D 16th May 1882

Henry Woods was born to William and Elizabeth Woods of Trencherfield Mills, Wallgate, Wigan on 11th December 1882. His grandfather had moved from Preston to Wigan, where he married, settled and became founder of the firm bearing his name.

In 1854 Henry married Hannah Hindley, daughter of Charles Hindley M.P for Ashton-under-Lyne. They had two children, a son William born 1855 and a daughter who died in1859. Hannah died in 1857, references to her in the Wigan Observer state she was a lady ever ready and willing to assist in all good and charitable works in the town.

Henry remarried in 1864 to Henrietta Emma Gilbert, fifth daughter of the Right Rev. Ashurst T. Gilbert, D.D, Bishop of Chichester. They had two daughters, Catherine and Henrietta.

Henry was actively involved in the Trencherfield Mills and in 1848 was placed on the Commission of the Peace for the County of Lancaster. In the same year he was appointed one of the patrons of the Wigan Public Health Association. He was chosen as one of the first trustees of the association and when the Mechanics Institution was formed he became one of the directors and a member of the building committee. He took a great interest in the success of that undertaking. Later he was chosen to be president of the institution.

In 1853 he was elected one of the representatives of Queen Street Ward on Wigan Town Council and in 1855 was elected Mayor of the Borough.

In 1863 he was appointed as an Alderman a term which lasted two years. In 1865 he was again elected as a representative of Queen Street Ward and held that position on the council for three years. He was one of the members of the first Wigan Burial Board, Vice-President of the Old Dispensary and a trustee of the Royal Albert Edward Infirmary. In 1865 he was placed on the Commission of the Peace for the Borough.

In politics Henry Woods was a Liberal and as a follower of Lord Palmerston he first contested the borough in 1857 and was accepted as the Liberal candidate alongside Mr F.S. Powell. His first address was printed in the Wigan Observer, see reference below. Two years later he was returned again this time alongside the Hon. J. Lindsay and they were both re-elected two years later in 1865, Lindsay retired twelve months later.

In 1868 Henry Woods and John Lancaster were returned by a large majority. A petition followed but proved unsuccessful and Woods and Lancaster represented the borough until the general election of 1874 when they were both defeated. See reference to trial below. He represented Wigan in Parliament for seventeen years.

Henry withdrew himself from local politics and took no further part in the public affairs of the town. He resided at his home, Warnford Park, Bishop Waltham, Hampshire and was appointed a magistrate for Hampshire, in 1879 he was elected High Sheriff of Southampton.

His obituary states that in his Parliamentary career Mr Woods was a hard-working, if silent, member and it was principally in committees that his services were appreciated. He had the honour of serving on a large number, the most important being that appointed to consider the regulations to be adopted for the safer working of coal mines. In religion he was a Nonconformist and was connected with Hope Chapel, the foundation of the new schools being laid by his wife.

Henry Woods was a cotton manufacturer, colliery owner and a Liberal Party Politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1857 to 1874 he died suddenly on 16th May 1882 at the home of his sister in Hyde Park Gardens, London.

References Wigan Observer - 16th November 1855 Elected Mayor, 8th July 1865 Returned to Parliament, 20th November 1868 Nomination, 3rd March 1869 Petition of Trial against election, 6th March 1869 Declared Elected, 4th Februaruy1871Address to electorate, 2nd February 1872 Address, 20th May 1882 Obituary, 22nd May 1926 Sale of Springfield Hall

Ann Wilson volunteer at Wigan Local Studies


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